UPDATE - Laschet Warns Russia Could Be Targeted With Sanctions If Nord Stream 2 Is Used As 'Weapon'

UPDATE - Laschet Warns Russia Could Be Targeted With Sanctions If Nord Stream 2 Is Used as 'Weapon'

BERLIN (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 01st August, 2021) Armin Laschet, a front-runner in the race for the German chancellorship, threatened Russia with sanctions if Moscow decides to pressure Ukraine using the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

"Should Russia again commit aggressive actions against Ukraine, Germany will take measures at the national level and advocate punitive measures in the European Union," Laschet told the Polish Rzeczpospolita newspaper, as quoted by Zeit on Saturday. He added that this is expected to ensure "that Russia cannot use the pipeline as a geopolitical weapon."

Laschet said that Ukraine's sovereignty and security must be a priority of German foreign policy and that the US-German agreement on Nord Stream 2 is an "instrument" that can be used to hold Russia accountable for any "destructive activities."

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said last week that despite attempts of the United States to politicize the Nord Stream 2 project, the pipeline will be operating soon and the US-Germany agreement on Nord Stream 2 will not be able to have an impact on the project as it is almost completed.

The operator of the project, Nord Stream 2 AG, announced on Wednesday that the pipeline was 99 percent completed. Rainer Seele, the head of the Austrian oil giant OMV, said on Wednesday that the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was expected to wrap up in August and that gas could start flowing already this year.

Ann Linde, the Swedish foreign minister and Chairperson-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said during a phone call with Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexey Stolyarov, known as Vovan and Lexus, that there will be no sanctions against Nord Stream 2 because the European Union will always be split on the issue.

The pranksters introduced themselves as the spouse of Russian opposition activist Alexey Navalny, Yulia, and Navalny's ally Leonid Volkov. They published a video of the conversation with Linde on their YouTube channel on Thursday.